Ohio’s GOP governor vetoes ban on gender-affirming care, transgender athletes in girls sports


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed a measure Friday that would have banned gender-affirming care for minors and transgender athletes’ participation in girls and women’s sports, in a break from members of his party who championed the legislation.

GOP lawmakers hold enough seats to override DeWine’s veto, but if or when they would do so was not immediately clear. Both within and between chambers, Republican legislators have not been in lockstep this year.

Hundreds of opponents testified against Ohio’s multifaceted measure when it was moving through the Legislature, including medical and mental health providers, education professionals, faith leaders, parents of transgender children and transgender individuals themselves.

They decried the legislation as cruel, life threatening to transgender youth and based on fearmongering rather than science.

The measure, which passed the Legislature earlier this month with only Republican support, would have prohibited Ohio minors from taking puberty blockers and undergoing other hormone therapies or receiving gender reassignment surgery that would further align them with their gender identity. It would, however, have allowed any minor who is an Ohio resident to continue treatment they are currently receiving.

DeWine’s veto departs from a nationwide trend toward passing such laws. Since 2021, more than 20 states have enacted laws restricting or banning such treatments, despite them having been available in the United States for more than a decade and long endorsed by major medical associations. Most of those states face lawsuits, but courts have issued mixed rulings.

The bill also would have required public K-12 schools and universities to designate separate teams for male and female sexes, and explicitly banned transgender girls and women from participating in sports that align with their gender identity. Supporters argued that banning transgender athletes from girls and women’s sports maintains the integrity of those sports and ensures fairness.

At least 20 states have passed some version of a ban on transgender athletes playing on K-12 and collegiate sports teams statewide. Those bans would be upended by a regulation proposed by President Joe Biden’s administration that is set to be finalized early next year.



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